By Bond Collective Staff
The concept of the hybrid workplace has been around for years. The vast majority of businesses, though, were slow to embrace it for two very clear-cut reasons:
The technology to support it really hadn’t arrived yet
Management had no idea how it would affect productivity
In the wake of recent events — during which most businesses faced the choice to embrace remote work or close their doors completely — technology caught up and the business world discovered that it could maintain productivity regardless of where employees worked.
Now, the hybrid workplace is rapidly becoming the norm for businesses of all types and sizes.
In this article, we discuss the future of work how your business can implement a hybrid workplace of its own.
The Hybrid Workplace Defined
A hybrid workplace is one that supports both in-office workers and remote workers alike.
This lies in sharp contrast to the more traditional workplace arrangement that gives more support to the in-office workers than it does to those who are part of the remote workforce.
In addition, modern hybrid workplaces revolve around three fundamental concepts:
Workers don’t necessarily have to schedule where they work in advance
Unlike the traditional work arrangement, the number of in-office workers doesn’t always exceed the number of virtual workers
The ratio of remote employees to in-office employees is not static and will shift from hour to hour, day to day, and week to week
This transition away from the common concept of one employee, one assigned desk toward a more fluid and flexible workplace design lies at the heart of it all and demands that businesses change the way they think about their offices and how their teams work.
We’ll discuss this idea further in the How To Create A Hybrid Workplace section below.
But first, we’ll delve a bit deeper into the theory of the hybrid workplace and how it provides an adjustable framework that governs the way businesses work.
The Theory Behind The Hybrid Workplace
While the concept of the hybrid workplace has been around for years and is fairly straightforward — an arrangement that provides equal support for in-office and remote workers — the theory behind it has undergone a radical shift in recent months.
Now, the concept has come to embody and represent the dual ideas of flexibility and adjustability — both in the physical workplace itself and in the way the business operates on a day-to-day basis.
In the physical sense, modern hybrid workplaces focus less on individual workstations and more on collaboration spaces where both in-office and remote employees can gather and work together.
In the operational sense, modern hybrid workplaces are adjustable to the overall needs of the business and allow them to customize how and where employees work at a moment’s notice.
Microsoft, for example, recently implemented a model that can change from day to day to accommodate the needs of the business, the needs of its employees, and the external conditions that might affect them.
Stage six is all open and on-site. Stage five is open with restrictions. Stage four is a soft open. Stage three is work from home strongly encouraged (during stages three, four, and five, employees are encouraged to work remotely).
Finally, stage two is mandatory work from home, and stage one is closed.
Your business may not need to go as deep into the theory and philosophy of the hybrid workplace as Microsoft has, but implementing the physical aspects of the concept — a flexible workspace that facilitates in-person and remote collaboration — is certainly worth investigating.
How To Create A Hybrid Workplace
1) Use Technology To Drive The Hybrid Workplace
Technology is at the heart of the hybrid workplace because remote work all but demands internet-based collaboration tools.
The transition from on-site data storage and processing to cloud-based storage and processing means that teams can work together in real time no matter where in the world individual employees are located.
2) Create One-On-One Spaces
In addition to collaboration spaces where the whole team can work together, the hybrid workplace incorporates one-on-one spaces where in-office employees can talk privately with their remote colleagues.
These one-on-one spaces may be as small as a telephone booth with nothing more than a chair and a table, or as large as a restaurant booth with bench seats and a table in-between.
Regardless of the size, one-on-one spaces are completely enclosed and are soundproof so that team members can conduct confidential meetings in private.
3) Invest In Video Conferencing Tools
We talked earlier about how technology as a general concept drives the hybrid workplace. But not just any old technology will do.
Your business and your team will need specific tools in order to make the hybrid workplace a reality. Video conferencing tools are the first step.
These apps allow anyone with an internet connection to meet, talk, and work together regardless of where they choose to work. Some employees may be in the office while other team members work remotely.
With video conferencing tools, it doesn’t matter — everyone can gather in one place (on one screen) to brainstorm, collaborate, and get things done.
4) Make Online Collaboration Tools Part Of Your Workflow
Another key component of the hybrid workplace is collaboration software.
This is slightly different from video conferencing software in that it allows your team to organize the workflow, communicate in real time, track changes in documents and spreadsheets, and minimize the confusion of multiple individuals working on the same task from different locations.
Apps such as Slack, Trello, Google Workspace, and many more make it easy to collaborate whether your team is together in the office or all working from different locations.
5) Try Hot Desking
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the traditional office model revolves around the concept of one employee, one desk.
When an employee starts work at your business, you assign them a space of their own and they report there every day.
The hybrid model is completely different because some team members may only report to the office two or three times a week, while others may always work remotely. If you assigned desks to these team members, you’d end up with a lot of unused space.
That’s where hot desking comes in. In hot desking, team members occupy workspaces on a first-come, first-served basis.
Desks, tables, and chairs have no permanent “owner,” and employees use whatever is available that fits their needs when they arrive.
This seating model requires implementing some sort of reservation and tracking system, but check-in and check-out software makes hot desking simple, efficient, and effective.
6) Offer Hoteling
Hoteling is similar to hot desking but different in one key aspect: workspaces are reserved ahead of time — typically for longer durations of several days, a week, or a month.
If a remote team member knows they will be in town for a week and would like the security and consistency of the same desk day after day, hoteling is the perfect solution.
Like hot desking, hoteling only works if you pair it with a reservation and tracking system that is easy to use and accessible to all anytime, day or night.
The Hybrid Workplace Is Available Now
Creating a hybrid workplace from scratch can be a difficult and expensive undertaking. But when you partner with Bond Collective, we do all the work for you.
For years, Bond Collective has provided the business world with coworking spaces (the precursor of the hybrid workplace) for individuals, teams, and entire businesses.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a team of one or 100, you’ll enjoy all that Bond Collective has to offer, including industry-leading amenities such as:
Conference rooms for 2 or 20+
Private meeting and phone booths
Guest reception and greeting
Unlimited black-and-white printing
Fast, reliable WiFi
Mail and package handling
Nightly office cleaning
Fresh fruit, snacks, and weekly breakfast
Complimentary spa water, craft beer, and coffee
Visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States — including workspaces in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas — to see what the best hybrid workplace is all about.